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Artist Biography for John O'Keefe Jr.
Art During Middle School and High School

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MIDDLE SCHOOL ART CLASSES

Throughout middle school I absorbed every art class. The exercises were beneficial and taught me new ways to express myself through art. My artwork greatly improved after attending those classes. I started developing a reputation in school for my drawing ability.

John O'Keefe's middle school ceramic sculpture of King Tut's sarcofacas, created when he was eleven years old

"King Tut Sarcophagus - View 1"

Ceramic,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1981 (11 years old)
John O'Keefe's middle school ceramic sculpture of King Tut's sarcofacas (view 2), created when he was eleven years old

"King Tut Sarcophagus - View 2"

Ceramic,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1981 (11 years old)

John O'Keefe's pencil drawing study of his hand, created when he was eleven to thirteen years old

"Hand Study"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1981-83 (11-13 years old)
John O'Keefe's pencil drawing study of cardboard tubes, created when he was eleven to thirteen years old

"Shading Study"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1981-83 (11-13 years old)
John O'Keefe's abstract pencil drawing study, created when he was eleven to thirteen years old

"Abstract Study"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1981-83 (11-13 years old)
John O'Keefe's landscape watercolor study, created when he was eleven to thirteen years old

"Watercolor Study"

Watercolor on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1981-83 (11-13 years old)
John O'Keefe's pastel study of a samuri warrior, created when he was thirteen years old

"The Samurai - Pastel Study"

Pastel on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1983 (13 years old)
John O'Keefe's pencil drawing study of brown paper bags, created when he was fourteen years old

"Paper Bag Study"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1985 (15 years old)

ART PROJECTS TURNED REALITY

John O'Keefe's pen & ink drawing of a fantasy tree castle, created when he was thirteen years old

"Tree Castle"

Pen & Ink on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1984 (13 years old)
John O'Keefe's pen & ink drawing of a tree fort, created when he was thirteen years old

"Tree Fort"

Pen & Ink on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1984 (13 years old)

I took my love of model building and decided to build a real tree fort. When it was completed the structure spanned 3 trees and it had three stories in the middle section. It had a prison, a draw-bridge, 6 rooms, and a lookout platform 20 feet up. We built a pulley-system to transport supplies from one section to another section. All the materials were scavenged from the local dump. We scoured the area for plywood, lumber, rope, and even nails. It was quite a project.

John O'Keefe's childhood mega tree fort

"Tree Fort - View 1"

Tree Fort,
(...before drawbridge added)
John O'Keefe's childhood mega tree fort (view 2)

"Tree Fort - View 2"

Drawbridge connecting main and second sections
(...before prison and third section added)

It took the neighborhood gang a few years to complete. There was probably about a dozen kids from the neighborhood who helped build this monster. No adults were involved - This was 100% kid built! In the end, my mother's home-owners insurance company said that the tree fort must come down or they would cancel her policy. That was a sad day for all the kids who helped build it. These are the only surviving pictures of the tree fort of all tree forts, and it was only about half built in these pictures.

John O'Keefe's childhood tree fort and kids from the neighborhood

"Tree Fort - View 3"

My brother (far left) and some of the
neighborhood gang standing on the draw-bridge.
(Second story prison level eventually added where
sloping roof is located at left)

MORE ART PROJECTS TURNED REALITY

A constant theme during my middle school years was that my drawings reflected my other interests. Around this time I had an interest in BMX bikes and freestyle riding which you can see reflected in these next drawings.

John O'Keefe's pencil drawing of a skate board trick, created when he was fourteen years old

"Freestyling"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1984 (14 years old)
John O'Keefe's pencil drawing of a freestyle bike trick on a quarter-pipe, created when he was fourteen years old

"Freestyling"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1984 (14 years old)

HIGH SCHOOL ART CLASSES

In high school my love of drawing was rekindled. I benefited greatly from the more advanced instruction given in the high school art program, and this can be seen in these next examples.

John O'Keefe's pencil drawing study of an antique fishing reel, created when he was fifteen years old

"Fishing Reel"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1985 (15 years old)
John O'Keefe's pencil drawing study of an old model-a car, created when he was fifteen years old

"Model-A"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1985-86 (15 years old)
John O'Keefe's pen & ink study of an old smashed up car, created when he was fifteen years old

"Car Wreck"

Pen & Ink on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1985-86 (15 years old)
John O'Keefe's watercolor study of a prairie chicken, created when he was sixteen years old

"Prairie Chicken"

Watercolor on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1986 (16 years old)
John O'Keefe's pen & ink study of a run down house, created when he was seventeen years old

"Run Down House"

Pen & Ink on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1987 (17 years old)
John O'Keefe's pencil drawing study of an old sailing ship deck scene, created when he was eightteen years old

"The Ship"

Pencil on Paper,
John O'Keefe Jr.,
1988 (18 years old)
John O'Keefe Jr. Profile Picture
John O'Keefe Jr.
© 2007, All Rights Reserved
About the Author...
     John specializes in landscape oil painting done in a style similar to the famous Hudson River School and Victorian era artists. He also specializes in reproduction painting frames, framing supplies and Giclee prints of his landscape paintings.
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